Experience the African Village of Oyotunji in Sheldon - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

Experience the African Village of Oyotunji

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His Royal Magesty Oba Adefunmi II, King of Oyotunji and Yoruba of North America His Royal Magesty Oba Adefunmi II, King of Oyotunji and Yoruba of North America
SHELDON, SC (WTOC) -

Just how far can you go on one tank of gas? I'm on the hunt for local vacations - and I found a place that won't take some out of their county, but they'll experience a world away.

Traveling 60 mph up US Hwy 17 in northern Beaufort County, an intriguing sign stands out among the houses and periodic cidar stops: AFRICAN VILLAGE OYOTUNJI.

Like any curious traveler who makes that turn down the dirt road, I was greeted with smiles, courtesy, and most importantly - culture - not kitsch.

Aware of the skeptism, the king jokes: "You may have heard about it on a weird magazine or crazy places in America; However, Oyotunji is far from a crazy place".

The village king, His Royal Magesty Oba Adefunmi II, King of Oyotunji and Yoruba of North America, greets us in traditional Nigerian garments. They are all materials from West Africa, but are made in the village.

"Oyotunji is an expression of black people's culture here in North America, so just like you have a Chinatown, Greektown, you might even have a Germantown- here you have an Africantown, the only one in North American, and I wish there were more!"

Surrounded by his chief and high priestess - we tour the grounds. 

First is the holy temple.  It's quite a treat especially when the king describes and defines their use of Voodoo. He told WTOC it's Hollywood that added the double "O" which is an adaptation of Vudon, a West African celebration of the earth and spirits. 

His father, the first king of Oyotunji built this village by hand in the 1970s.

"My father traveled here on a dream and a prayer and today we continue to live that dream," said Adefunmi II.

As you walk the 27-acre village, there is a unique mix of past and present. Oyotunji is nestled just one mile from the Frampton House, a former slave plantation.

Make no mistake; however, they do not forsake modern comforts as we continuously heard cell phones ring throughout our tour.

But the experience here will truly bring you back in time. The king says: "People have to brave to come down that long road and brave those bumps in the road, they don't know what's at the end. We exist as an educational feature in the Lowcountry."

So from Savannah, it's 108 miles roundtrip. For most vehicles, that's about a quarter-tank of gas; a quarter tank that takes you a full world away. 

Just in time for the trip, from July 4-7, the African Village is holding its second ever Pan African Grassroots Assembly. They are offering workshops on agribusiness, youth engagements and an African dance and drum ensemble.

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